We may fairly judge Timaeus on the principles which
The incapacity of Timaeus for forming a judgment.
he has himself laid down. According to him,
"poets and historians betray their own tastes by
the incidents which they repeatedly record in
their writings. Thus the poet1
by his fondness for banqueting scenes shows that he is a glutton; and in the
same way Aristotle, by frequently describing rich food in his
writings, betrays his love of dainty living and his greediness."
On the same principle he judges Dionysius the tyrant because
he "was always very particular in the ornamentation of his
dining-couches, and had hangings of exquisite make and
variegated colours." If we apply this principle to Timaeus,
we shall have abundant reason to think badly of him. In
attacking others he shows great acuteness and boldness; when
he comes to independent narrative he is full of dreams,
miracles, incredible myths,—in a word, of miserable superstition and old wives' tales. The truth is that Timaeus is a proof
of the fact, that at times, and in the case of many men, want
of skill and want of judgment so completely destroy the value
of their evidence, that though present at and eye-witnesses of
the facts which they record, they might just as well have
been absent or had no eyes. . . .